America, it's not you, it's me. Or maybe it is you
Hey, America. I’ve been quiet, I know. And you’ve been, well, busy.
I’ve written this letter a dozen times but I always stopped short of sending it, hoping that you might come to your senses. But, I’m sorry, you’ve just become too unpredictable.
We’ve been together now for, what, 56 years. I was always very proud of you, and I always wanted you to be proud of me. I played Little League. I started a business. I got misty looking at the Statue of Liberty.
I loved you, America.
And it wasn’t always easy. You’re complex. You’ve done some questionable things over the years, but you’ve also done some great things: The Bill of Rights, jazz, baseball, The Mary Tyler Moore Show. You’ve had your moments.
So, I stood beside you during the good times and the bad. I thought, hey, you’re still killing it, you’re still, what’s that word we always used? No. 1.
But you’ve changed. A lot.
Or maybe COVID-19 just pulled back the curtain, revealing all the petulant little mobs that we’ve become. Even our smart people and our yoga practitioners have been reduced to using expletives and all caps on Facebook.
I know we have a new president and I’m hopeful about that, but I’m afraid that my unhappiness is bipartisan. Everyone seems to be convinced that he or she is absolutely right and everyone else is absolutely wrong. And there are lots of guns. I’ve grown intolerant of your intolerance.
I don’t like myself like this.
So, America, I think we should start seeing other people.
I don’t want to break up — you’re still far too important to me — but I need to tell you that I’ve been spending time with someone else: China. I think you two know each other.
Sure, China can be a little stiff, but I must say that I’ve come to appreciate its comparative stability. China’s cities are lovely and modern. There’s almost no street crime or illegal drug use. And, speaking of drugs, there are over 4,700 Starbucks in China so I’ll be okay in terms of my Iced Grande Americano.
Does China have baggage? Sure, but so do you and so do I. Clearly.
Loss of life in America
Is China perfect? No, but look at our own grim record of losing over 400,000 Americans to COVID-19 in one year due mostly to our own denial, infighting and disorganization.
So, anyway, I’ve made my decision. I’m giving Beijing a chance. Assuming, of course, that Beijing will have me.
Will there be some sacrifices I’ll need to make? No doubt.
But right now it seems like a fair trade-off for living in a nation that’s virtually COVID-19-free, has the only growing economy on Earth, and doesn’t have to worry about a QAnon Shaman with plastic horns strolling through its capitol beside a guy wearing a “Camp Auschwitz” hoodie.
Also, the food in China is out of this world.
So, there you have it, America. I do hope you’ll get some help. I know I’ll be getting some.
If there was a shrink with a big enough couch to heal our whole country, where you and I could lie side by side and finally purge our angst, I would treat us to as many sessions as I could afford.
I’m still rooting for your big comeback, America, and I just pray it will be a peaceful one.
But right now, I feel like we’re all — Democrat, Republican, Big Tech — on a Greyhound bus heading over a cliff while we argue over which music to stream on the radio.
Well, this is my stop.
Please do take care of yourself. It’s not you, it’s me. Or maybe it is you.
(The author is founder and president of China Bridge Content, a company committed to building business ties between China and the world in the media sector. The views are his own.)